Armani Charter Public School Presents Annie Jr.


Orphans sang about “A Hard Knock Life” while scrubbing floors and banging buckets. Dozens of residents from Mt. Vernon were entertained at the Doles Recreation Center Theater by young scholars from the Armani Public Charter School. The setting was an institution known as an orphanage to care of orphans.  

A fifth grader Micah Whiteside who played one of The Orphans shared her experience. “Playing an orphan gave me an opportunity to decide what I want to be in life and to make the right choices. I actually want to have a career in the medical field plus master theatre at the same time.” Micah stated that the play Annie Jr. gave her the opportunity to think about what life was like as an orphan in the 1900s. 

The play “Annie Jr.” was based on the original “Little Orphan Annie” with permission of The Tribune Media Services, Inc. produced and directed by Harvey Zuckerman. It is about an orphan in a facility run by Miss Hannigan who is depicted as mean and selfish. She was played by Shaiyanne Noisette who portrayed her part with the similar energy as the well known actress Carole Bernette when she sang “Little Girls”. A song about the girls in the orphan who are longing for love in particular Annie. 

The plot thickens when a rich man named Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks decided to let an orphan live at his home to promote his image and Annie is selected. Annie, a red head with freckles believes that her parents left her with Misses Hannigan by mistake. Annie was starred by Jada-Cassidy James a 5th grader from Amani Public Charter School. Jada-Cassidy expresses that she thought Annie was really sassy in character. She shared with Black Westchester, “I practiced and I took care of myself in order for me to sing well.” When asked what does taking care of yourself meant Jada-Cassidy replies, “If you are drinking cold water it can ruin your throat and I made sure I wasn’t sick.” Eye-opening tips from a 5th grader who played a sassy role. 

After intermission Annie gets accustomed to living in Warbucks’ mansion, but she still longs to meet her parents. Warbucks announced a search for Annie parents along with a monetary reward, which brings out many frauds. In comes, Miss Hannigan’s brother Rooster Hannigan. Rooster is a convict who escaped jail so he can rob his sister, but finds out about the reward for Annie and plots to abduct Annie and get the reward. Rooster was played by Ethan Williams who is graduating from the Armani Public Charter School. He inserted a clever Jamaican accent that caught the funny bone of the audience. 

The props for this incredible performance was supplied by Music Theatre International which set the tone for students to dive into their characters. Black Westchester congratulates the performers, parents, and school staff for infusing our youth at the Armani Public Charter School. 

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AJ Woodson
AJ Woodson
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief and co-owner of Black Westchester, Host & Producer of the People Before Politics Radio Show, An Author, Journalism Fellow (Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism), Rap Artist - one third of the legendary underground rap group JVC FORCE known for the single Strong Island, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian, Documentarian, Activist, Criminal Justice Advocate and Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale,,, Rolling Out Newspaper, Daily Challenge Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine, Word Up! Magazine, On The Go Magazine and several others.

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